Florida Georgia Line Announces Details for 2nd Annual This Is How We Cruise Event

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line has announced details for their 2nd Annual This Is How We Cruise voyage coming up November 7 through 11. FGL will perform three shows, including an acoustic set, over the four-day trip from Miami to Cozumel. Fans on the cruise will get a photo with the duo and a commemorative lithograph, too. More acts will join the Florida Georgia Line cruise closer to the event.

Go to FGLCruise.com for more details.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDarius Rucker is the subject of a new installment of CMT’s Inside Fame series premiering Saturday, February 7 at noon ET.

RaeLynn has released a new video profile tracing her journey from Texas to The Voice to country stardom with her debut hit, “God Made Girls.” Fans can watch the profile now at Vevo.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Brantley Gilbert’s Fiancée, Amber, Letting Him Have a Mac and Cheese Station at Wedding Reception

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert and his fiancée, Amber, were in Nashville Monday to celebrate his #1 hit “Bottoms Up” with a party at the restaurant Pour House. The couple will tie the knot in the coming months, but Brantley is letting Amber take the reins on the wedding planning.

“[I'm] as involved as she would like me to be, yeah,” Brantley says. “I told her, the thing about that wedding is I’m getting to marry her, so that’s like the ultimate wedding gift.”

Brantley is up-to-date on all the wedding details, and he’s even come up with a few ideas for the ceremony and reception.

Says Brantley, “I wanted a macaroni and cheese station at the reception, ’cause I really dig macaroni and cheese, and she made that happen. So, I’m pretty stoked about that.”

On the touring front, Brantley is headed across the pond for a run of shows through Europe starting February 28 in Oslo, Norway.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thomas Rhett & Kellie Pickler Facing Off in Big Checkers Game Prior to ACM Awards

Image Courtesy ACMThe Academy of Country Music and Cracker Barrel have teamed up for a fun, new contest to send six grand-prize winners to the ACM Awards this April in North Texas. In addition to attending the show, the winners will also be “human playing checkers pieces” on a giant checker board in The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge.

Kellie Pickler and Thomas Rhett will lead the opposing teams for the checker match, and several other country stars will join the winners on each team. That event will take place 2015 ACM Party for a Cause Festival at Globe Like Park in Arlington, TX on April 18 as part of the events leading up to the ACM Awards on April 19.

Cracker Barrel has donated $35,000 to be divided between each checkers team to go to a charity chosen by the team leader. Kellie Pickler’s portion will go to the USA, and Thomas Rhett will donate his money to the Disabled American Veterans organization.

You can enter to win The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge sweepstakes now at CrackerBarrel.com.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dierks Bentley Stopping by “Ellen DeGeneres” and “The Late Show” Before Sunday’s Grammy Awards

Image Courtesy CMADierks Bentley has some big TV appearances scheduled this week leading up to Sunday night’s Grammy Awards. Look for him on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, followed by a performance on CBS’s The Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday.

Dierks will be on hand for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night at 8:00 ET on CBS. He’s up for Best Country Album, for Riser.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Reba‘s hit duet with Kelly Clarkson from the album Reba Duets? ANSWER: “Because of You.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thomas Rhett Explains Why He Traded Higher Education for Hit Songs

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett has clearly found his calling as a country singer and songwriter, judging from his string of hit songs, including his latest top-10, “Make Me Wanna.” As the son of ’90s country star and current hit songwriter Rhett Akins, Thomas grew up around the music industry, and starting writing songs while attending Lipscomb University in Nashville. That’s where he figured out he wasn’t cut out for higher education.

“Honestly, I think I switched four different majors in the three short years,” Thomas tells the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “I had a year left and I started writing songs and started to get cuts on big artists’ records and I thought, ‘Man, if I can write these songs, what do I need college for?’”

Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Lee Brice are among the stars who have recorded Thomas’s songs in the past few years. He’s currently on the road with Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes tour. They’ll head back out February 12 for a show in Sioux City, Iowa.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe Nashville: On the Record 2 concert special was taped at the Grand Ole Opry House over the weekend with special guests Reba and Deana Carter joining the Nashville cast. Look for the special to air on ABC Wednesday, March 25 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Congratulations to Eric Paslay on his engagement to Natalie Harker. The couple met seven years ago when she worked at his publishing company and have been dating for two years. According to The Tennessean, Eric and Natalie got engaged on December 30 and will marry this spring in Nashville.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Eric Church Plays 19-Song Solo Arena Show After Band and Crew Sidelined by Stomach Bug

Image Courtesy Jill Trunnell/EB MediaA stomach bug took out most of Eric Church‘s band and crew over the weekend, but he didn’t cancel his Saturday night concert in Salt Lake City. Instead, Eric played a mostly-solo acoustic set for his fans and promised he would be back for a make-good show with the full band on Memorial Day, May 25.

The stage set-up was scaled back with just a few spotlights on Eric as opposed to his normal, massive light display. Speaking to the crowd about the situation, Eric said, “We had no one to hang video, lights, nothing. But I’m still here. I’m still standing. We’ve talked about how every show on The Outsiders Tour is different. Well, tonight will be the most different one.”

A few guitar players joined Eric for the 19-song set, but he mostly relied on his years of playing solo shows in the clubs as he worked through his hits “Give Me Back My Hometown,” “Talladega” and “Springsteen.” The Outsiders World Tour will resume this Wednesday with a full production show in Sacramento. Eric is also performing on the Grammy Awards this Sunday night on CBS.

Here is the complete set list from Saturday night:
“Drink in My Hand”
“Guys Like Me”
“How ‘Bout You”
“I’m Gettin’ Stoned”
“Like Jesus Does”
“Cold One”
“Livin’ Part of Life”
“Give Me Back My Hometown”
“That’s Damn Rock and Roll”
“Before She Does”
“These Boots”
“Like a Wrecking Ball”
“Jack Daniels”
“Smoke a Little Smoke”
“Thunder Road”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cole Swindell’s Country Stardom Is Right on Time

Image Courtesy CMACole Swindell‘s career has taken off like a rocket with his first two singles both hitting #1 on the country chart. Before he set out as a solo artist, Cole spent three years as a songwriter in Nashville. After superstars like Luke Bryan started cutting his songs, record labels in town started noticing Cole’s singing voice on the demo tapes he made for his songs.

Cole says, “They would be like, ‘Why aren’t you singing these?’”

That encouragement from industry insiders led Cole to book a few shows in Nashville, and he felt right at home on stage. Still, he’s thankful for that time he spent in the trenches writing songs. It gave him a chance to learn the ropes of the music business before he stepped into the spotlight.

“I think everything needs to be ready when you get your shot, ’cause sometimes you don’t get but one,” Cole explains. “I’m gonna give it all I got.”

Cole is nominated for ACM New Artist of the Year, and fan voting is now open at VoteACM.com. The trophies will be handed out Sunday, April 19 on CBS.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.